Twelve bills were passed in the Texas House of Representatives on Saturday which softened firearms restrictions in the already gun-friendly state.
The legislation allows college students to carry handguns to class and puts armed marshals in public schools.
As many states are strengthening gun laws in the wake of the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Texas passed legislation Saturday, dubbed “gun day,” in an attempt to make the state exempt from federal restrictions on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines, and universal background checks.
While the NRA held its annual convention in Houston with tens of thousands of members in attendance, the Republican-dominated house approved 12 bills. The bills now head to the Senate for approval.
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After fierce debate, democrats failed to shoot down the initiative allowing students over 21 with concealed weapons permits to bring handguns to class. Bill sponsor Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Tomball, said, "College campuses are not crime-free zones."
The house approved a bill from first-term, Tea Party Rep. Steve Toth that would exempt the state from and federal bans on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines and any extension of background checks on gun purchasers.
"There are 27 amendments in the Constitution, but only one says `shall not be infringed,"' Toth said. "The Second Amendment is the amendment that keeps the people free."
Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, criticized Toth’s measure on Twitter. "In case your head is too thick to understand: State law will not trump federal law," he said.
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Democrats did manage to reject one of the bills put forth Saturday: The bill would have let a concealed handgun license serve as valid proof of personal identification.